A Few Signed Copies Still Available
Peter May is the first author I’d ever met who came to a signing in a kilt. He’s a tall Scotsman, but his first series was set in China and his second was set in France. I nagged him (as did other folks) to write about Scotland, and he has. When he drops by I’ll be able to thank him.
The first in the “Lewis” trilogy is The Blackhouse, where we meet Fin Macleod, a detective inspector sent to his home island of Lewis in the outer Hebrides to investigate a murder that seems suspiciously like one that has happened in Edinburgh, where he’s living now. Still reeling from the death of his son, Fin isn’t sure he’s up to the task, especially since his memories of his time in Crobost. But it gets him out of the house and away from his wife, so he goes. The man who has been murdered was a bully back when Fin was in school, and he’s not entirely surprised Angel’s come to a bad end, but the more he investigates, the stranger things appear.
The second in the trilogy is The Lewis Man. Fin is now living on the island, rebuilding his parents’ home, when a body is discovered in the peat. At first it’s believed to be an ancient mummy, but closer examination reveals a tattoo of Elvis on the arm, so obviously the body’s been in there a much shorter time than originally believed. Fin becomes drawn into the investigation when it turns out that the dead body is related to his old flame’s father.
The third one in the series, The Chess Men, won’t be out until at least next year and I am wildly curious to see what happens there. This is a beautifully dark series, and the people are shaped by their culture and the unrelenting weather. I’m not exaggerating when I say that the wind itself is a character in the books, and Peter May’s writing makes me want to visit these harsh and unforgiving islands in the worst way. Despite the bleakness of the countryside and the resigned acceptance of so many people making what they can of their lives, there’s a fierce independence and resolute strength that just shines through, and I fiind that I truly care what happens to Fin and Marsaili and George and young Fionnlagh.
It’s interesting to note that, in The Blackhouse, the book is written in third person for modern events, but when seeing what happened in the past, we’re viewing it through young Fin’s eyes in the first person. In The Lewis Man, the same is true except our portal into the past is from Marsaili’s father’s point of view. It shouldn’t work, it should be choppy and disruptive, but Peter May is such a skilled storyteller that it flows beautifully and smoothly. And even when things are darkest – and they are, frequently – there’s that thread of strength and hope and determination, regardless of the time frame, that makes these books incredibly powerful.
I can’t wait to read The Chess Men. And I can’t help wondering if Peter will show up in a kilt. Probably not, because it is only a stock signing (so you will reserve your books, right?), but hey, I gotta have dreams, right?